The larynx is a multitask organ playing distinct roles in breathing, swallowing, vocalization, protection of the airway, and building pressure during heavy lifting and defecation. As it is a multitask organ involved in a number of physiologic processes, it may be affected by a great variety of pathologic influences. Symptoms include hoarseness, dysphagia, dyspnea, chronic throat clearing, and coughing mandating thorough diagnostic workup. This workup should include history and clinical examination using videostroboscopy as a gold standard. Before any surgical procedure, informed consent of the patient including education of the patient about the risks and complications needs to be performed. These risks include bleeding, swelling with dyspnea and stridor that may be life-threatening, recurrence of the pathology, scarring, voice changes leading to hoarseness and dysphonia, and damage to teeth and mucosa.
For further investigation including gathering more diagnostic information such as biopsies or swabs or therapeutic measures such as excision of pathologic masses (polyps, cysts, Reinke’s edema), laryngoscopy is a valuable tool. Inspection of the larynx may be performed under local anesthesia using a flexible or rigid optic instrument or direct visualization of pharynx and larynx under general anesthesia using a special rigid laryngoscope.
KeywordsVocal Fold Thyroid Cartilage Cricoid Cartilage Indirect Laryngoscopy Arytenoid Cartilage
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